GGP seeks time

March 31, 2009|By Chicago Tribune

Regional mall owner General Growth Properties Inc., which is struggling to avoid a bankruptcy filing, said Monday that it is continuing discussions with bondholders to extend a deadline to pay certain loans.

The nation's second-largest shopping mall owner owns Harborplace & The Gallery and Towson Town Center, among other area shopping centers. It began this month to formally solicit holders of $2.25 billion of the so-called Rouse series of unsecured notes to give General Growth until the end of the year to refinance the debt.

General Growth bought Columbia-based Rouse in 2004 for $11.3 billion and financed much of the purchase through debt. Besides the area malls it owns, General Growth also is Columbia's master developer.

Chicago-based General Growth said it failed to achieve the minimum acceptance levels for each series of Rouse unsecured notes, but it did receive "a significant number of consents" from the holders of all five series. A deadline to complete that agreement passed Friday.

General Growth owns more than 200 shopping malls nationwide. The company has been warning since November that it might file for bankruptcy protection.

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